Back of the Net: Sussex and Surrey football round-up

In our weekly column, Back of the Net Ltd round-up the week's football in Sussex and Surrey.

East Grinstead Town (gold and black) v Carshalton Athletic. 2nd yellow card for Laste Dombaxe. Pic Steve Robards  SR1624617 SUS-160828-113844001
East Grinstead Town (gold and black) v Carshalton Athletic. 2nd yellow card for Laste Dombaxe. Pic Steve Robards SR1624617 SUS-160828-113844001

AFC Uckfield 2-0 Littlehampton Town FC

AFC Uckfield recorded their first league victory of the season with a 2-0 home win against Littlehampton Town FC. They now have four points from their first three league games.

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Their star man on the day was Andrew Dalhouse who scored both goals for the U’s. The goals came either side of half time in what looked a convincing victory. The match was not all plain sailing though as Littlehampton still looked dangerous and won a penalty for their troubles. The resulting kick was admirably saved by new signing Matt Dann, who is looking to solidify his place as the first choice keeper.

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This was the perfect result for Uckfield going in to the Bank Holiday Monday fixture against title favourites Haywards Heath Town, who have won their opening three games and scored 13 goals in the process.

Chester 4-0 Sutton United

Sutton United’s three-game win streak came to an abrupt halt as they were hammered 4-0 at Chester, who themselves had not won in three games.

The U’s were undone by two early goals and two late goals, in a match that was played in heavy rain. Chester’s Blaine Hudson opened the scoring after three minutes, and the lead was doubled four minutes later when Ryan Lloyd tapped in after Sutton ‘keeper Ross Worner did well to save Kane Richard’s effort. The U’s came back at the hosts and had decent chances, but were denied by an excellent Jon Worsnop performance between the Chester sticks. The competition was over on 83 minutes when Tom Shaw converted a penalty, and Richards added insult to injury in added time with his first of the season.

It was a blow to the U’s who have enjoyed a strong start to their National League campaign, despite being brandished ‘just a pub team from Sutton’ by other supporters. Sutton host 2nd place Dagenham & Redbridge on Monday.

Chipstead 3-3 Hastings United

Chipstead allowed a three goal lead to slip as spoils were shared at High Road. Raheem Sterling-Parker put The Chips ahead from the penalty spot after only 7 minutes, having been bundled over by the visiting keeper. He had the chance to score a second penalty 5 minutes later, when he was upended by a defender, but saw his effort saved. A great team goal then set up Chris O’Flaherty to double the lead on 18 minutes, and he slotted home with just 3 minutes later for 3-0.

However, a spirited Hastings side didn’t give up and were back in the game on 24 minutes, when their in-form striker Jay May seized on to a loose ball in defence and scored. He then converted a penalty 3 minutes later and completed his hat trick on 33 minutes with a lob from well outside the penalty area. Both sides had chances to score in the second half, Hastings coming closest after hitting the woodwork, but the action never quite matched that of the busy first half.

Up next for the Chips is a visit to Carshalton Athletic on Monday.

Crawley Down Gatwick 2-3 Eastbourne Town

The Anvil’s poor start to the season continues, and are still looking for their first win of the season after Saturday’s home defeat to Eastbourne. It was a terrible start for the hosts, who found themselves two goals down at half time.

Manager Paul Cooper’s half time team talk clearly made an impact, as a completely regenerated side came out and eventually drew level through goals from Kerran Boylan and Oli Leslie. The Anvils pushed for a late winner, but were caught on the break, conceding a penalty after a desperate challenge. Wes Tate converted the penalty on 87 minutes to steal all three points and break Anvil hearts, who must now look ahead to their trip to Broadbridge Heath and attempt to bring an end to their bad form.

Crawley Town 1-3 Notts County

Dermot Drummy’s side had not been beaten in the league going into this game, and we sitting pretty in second in League 2. An entertaining first half with plenty of chances for both sides finished goalless, James Collins coming closest for Reds when he broke through one-on-one with the keeper, who tipped his shot agonisingly past the post. The hosts came flying out of the blocks in the second half, taking the lead on 47 minutes with Enzio Boldewijn’s cool low finish from a well worked Crawley corner. The lead didn’t last long though, after some sloppy defending resulted in Collins knocking a low cross into his own net on 54 minutes. The visitors were ahead 10 minutes later; Adam Campbell bending in a strike from a tight angle at the edge of the box into the bottom corner.

Crawley struggled to get back in to the game after that blow, and the game was over four minutes from time when Jon Stead fired in a penalty after Andre Blackman handled in the area. After the game, Drummy said “I’ve told the boys they need to keep their heads up. We go again on Tuesday and we stay together on this journey.”

Dorking FC 1-5 Ash United

Dorking FC continued their poor form after they conceded five goals for the second home match in a row. The game started strongly for the Chicks, but strong play in possession was squandered by lack of composure in the final third. They were punished when Ash took the lead, but drew an equaliser just before half time from Owen Hunt to see the second half open nicely for a good contest.

However, the whistle had only just blown for the second half when two goals in the space of two minutes from United killed off the game. Heads dropped and whilst Dorking tried to build their way back into the game, their tired and inexperienced legs saw the side concede another two goals.

Press officer Roger Mahony:

“The scoreline didn’t reflect balance of play; it reflects the inexperience of players in the squad. We have brought in a manager to recruit local, young players and make them better that won’t happen overnight. There is already progress in the team, and it was all us in the first fifteen minutes. The next thing is to cut out the silly mistakes; two of Ash’s goals were breakaways. 1-1 was fair at half time, we had a hatful of chances and when we grabbed the equaliser we thought we could push on. Their two goals meant it took a bit of time to get our heads up again, and we played well in the last 15 and created some great chances, and at 3-2 we could have had the lift. We probably need one or two experienced players to help the squad develop.”

Horley Town 2-1 Hanworth Villa FC

Horley Town are still unbeaten after a 2-1 victory against Hanworth Villa. At the start of the day Hanworth were top of the league and favourites to win the match, but goals from Wetton and Robson saw Horley snatch the three points.

The home side were dominant in the first half, with the first goal coming fifteen minutes in. New signings Kyle Hough and Tate Greenway worked a corner into the box for Richard Wetton to put in at the front post. Then in the 28th minute, the right back Scott Robson went on a solo run and hit a fierce strike into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

Hanworth came out stronger in the second half and took one of their chances in the 65th minute to send a few scares around the New Defence. They continued to press but the Horley defence stayed strong and even threatened a third on the counter. After two wins and two draws, Horley now sit in 7th on eight points.

Manager Ant Jupp was happy with the result:

“It was a very tough game against an unbeaten Hanworth. The first half we were very good and totally dominated. Hanworth got more into the game in the second half as expected and got a goal with a neat finish. We defended them well and had a couple of chances to wrap it up late on but their keeper made some good saves. Overall, a very good 3 points. Now onto Epsom away which once again will be very tough.”

Hythe Town 3-3 Horsham

Horsham earned a point against Hythe Town on Saturday, who finished 4th in the Isthmian League Division One South last season. Matt Dale stated that before the game, which finished 3-3, the side “would be happy to take a point.” However, he also stated:

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t hold onto the lead when we were 2-0 and 3-2 up, but Hythe are a good side and we would have expected them to throw everything at us.”

Most importantly, he said:

“It’s a point that’s got us off the mark and hopefully we can build on that on Monday against Lewes.”

Leiston 2-0 Burgess Hill Town

An 80th minute goal and 86th minute penalty saw Leiston grab the points late against Burgess Hill Town.

Before the match, Leiston had won all four of their opening fixtures and looked in a strong position to do so again. The Hillians had a few good chances at the start of both halves, but for most of the game focused on remaining solid defensively and kept Leiston away from their box. It saw an impressive goal from Matt Blake to break the deadlock, and the game was over when Josh James took down the Leiston forward.

Burgess Hill will be hoping for better as they face Folkestone Invicta this Bank Holiday Monday; a win could see them propel from 15th up to 6th.

After the game Ian Chapman said:

“We played some good football at times and we defended well. We had good chances to take the lead early in the 2nd half. If we had taken that we may have been able to have held on and take something from the game. As we found last season, this league is about fine margins and they took their chances in the last ten minutes.”

Merstham 3-4 Hendon

Merstham kept their first clean sheet of the season against Folkestone Invicta last Tuesday, taking a 0-0 draw, despite the absence of right back Michael Abnett. However, on Saturday, the side were involved in a seven goal thriller against Hendon, losing 4-3. Dan Bennett opened the scoring after nine minutes, but an own goal from Marc Okoye shortly followed.

Hendon fought back, scoring two more goals before Merstham managed to pull a goal back approaching half time. The opposition restored a two goal margin in the second half, but the Moatsiders netted a third before the final whistle.

Newcastle 3-0 Brighton

After a confident 4-2 win over Oxford United in the EFL Cup last Tuesday, Brighton were defeated 2-0 by promotion rivals Newcastle. Despite this result, Brighton are only five points adrift of first place as the side have accumulated eight points in five games. 3-0 wins against Nottingham Forest and Rotherham in the league exemplify the firepower which the Seagulls possess with the likes of Glenn Murray and Tomer Hemed.

The side will take a break this weekend, but on Saturday 10th September Brighton host Brentford. Three days later, the Seagulls encounter first placed Huddersfield.

Oakwood 2-2 Storrington

Oakwood came from behind to take a point against Storrington on Saturday as the final result ended 2-2. The side conceded two goals in the first half, scored by Liam Bouzan and Ross Fraser. In the 73rd minute, Gerald Manville pulled a goal back. 2-1. At last, in the 87th minute, Jack McNab netted the equaliser which earned the team a point. This afternoon, the club will face Midhurst & Easebourne.

Redhill 1-2 Balham

A promising start to the season saw Redhill defeat St. Francis Rangers 4-1 in the FA Cup and also win their opening league fixture against Frimley Green, defeating the side 2-0. Three days later, the side lost 2-1 against Chessington & Hook United and suffered a 6-1 defeat in the FA Cup to Lewes on Saturday 20th August.

Over the weekend, the Reds were on the end of a 2-1 loss to Balham. The latter are new to the Combined Counties League, finishing 2nd in the Surrey Elite Intermediate League last season and subsequently earning promotion. Today, Redhill take a trip to Worcester Park and will encounter Eversley & California on Saturday.

Rochdale 1-1 AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon are yet to record their first win in League One this season after a 1-all draw against Rochdale. The Dons came excruciatingly close though after they conceded an equaliser from 10-man Rochdale in the 5th minute of added time at the end of the match.

The game started well for Wimbledon after a quick counter attack saw Andy Barcham open the scoring with a header in the 12th minute. But Dale looked increasingly strong as the match went on with Allen rattling the crossbar and Dons keeper Ryan Clarke making a host of saves. When Rochdale player Camps was sent off for a second yellow card in the 82nd minute, the game looked all but over. Yet in the 95th minute with the final attack, Allen whipped a corner in that Clarke diverted into his own net.

After the game, manager Neal Ardley was in a reflective mood:

“We’ve lost a little bit of quality with the ball. We had fleeting moments when we looked good, but too often in the second-half we made bad decisions and lacked quality... There is loads to work on, but we are certainly positive about what we are doing. I said to the boys afterwards that ‘we do not turn on each other’. Part of what we had last season and what we want this season is team spirit and an unbelievable work ethic. We will try to keep that going.”

Sittingbourne 2-0 South Park

South Park take on Surrey rivals Dorking Wanderers in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup on Friday 2nd September after defeating Phoenix Sports 2-1 on the 20th August. In the league, the Sparks lost 2-0 against Sittingbourne of the weekend but will face Guernsey FC this afternoon.

Southwick 1-2 Lingfield

After thrashing Halisham Town 5-0 in a cup fixture on Saturday 20th August, Lingfield carried that confidence into their following league game as the side defeated Southwick 2-1 at the weekend. A penalty in the 68th minute was converted by David Heaton, followed by another goal in the 74th minute by Dan Frith.

Tomorrow night, Lingfield face St. Francis Rangers on the road. Another couple of away trips follow, including fixtures against AFC Varndeanians, Seaford Town and Halisham.

Tooting & Mitcham United 2-1 Dorking Wanderers

Dorking Wanderers’ 100% start to the season is over after being beaten at Imperial Fields. The hosts took the lead after Jordan Wilson slotted home after 23 minutes. Wanderers then held firm after more pressure from Tooting & Mitcham, and were level just before half time when Tom Tolfrey, continuing his fine goalscoring form, converted a penalty.

Wanderers were behind again just after the break, failing to deal with a quickly-taken Tooting thrown-in, the ball found Danny Bassett who hit early to grab the winner. Dorking Wanderers now sit 5th in the Ryman League South Division table, ahead of the visit of Molesey on Monday.

Walton Casuals 1-0 Three Bridges

Three Bridges are still without a win this league campaign after losing away at Walton Casuals thanks to Gabriel Odunaike’s goal. It was a closely contested game throughout, but it was Odunaike who proved to be the difference; his 41st minute goal coming just 10 minutes after having one ruled out for offside.

The Bridges have not won in all competitions so far this season, but will be hoping their luck changes on Bank Holiday Monday when they host Goldalming Town, who are yet to pick up a point in the league.

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